"Dowser" fails retest
for TBS "$1,000 Challenge"

by Gary P. Posner

James D. Moore, Jr., returned to Tampa on December 18, 1999, to be retested by Tampa Bay Skeptics. The test was conducted in the auditorium of the Tampa/Hillsborough Main Library, 900 N. Ashley Drive, in front of about 20 TBS members and two Moore associates.

This time, unlike in September, Moore preferred not to have us set up the boxes in advance, but to bring his apparatus with him and have the boxes prepared immediately prior to the retest.

After the 23 lead boxes were spread across the auditorium floor, Moore himself placed a layer of sand in each one, and then (with his two associates) left the room while TBS completed the preparation of the boxes. TBS brought 10 one-ounce gold coins and 13 aluminum wafers as the objects to be buried (as was the case last time as well, Moore was not made aware of the exact numbers, only that there was "a good mix"). A random drawing of slips of paper (containing a "G" or an "A") determined which boxes received gold vs. aluminum. At Moore's request, a TBS member then placed an aluminum wafer in each box that was to receive one, and then another TBS member poured a layer of sand on top of the wafers. After this was done, a third TBS member placed a gold coin in the remaining boxes, and the "sand" person then covered those as well. A videotape record was made so as to insure Mr. Moore that his specified protocol for filling the boxes was carried out precisely as instructed. Moore and his associates were then permitted to return to the room.

Moore took much more time "divining" each box than he had in September, and re-divined all of them one or two more times than he had before. During his final pass he changed three selections from "aluminum" to "gold." But when he was finally done, he expressed confidence that, except for one of the boxes, he was nearly "100 percent" certain that he had gotten them all correct. At that point, TBS agreed to award Moore $500 if he got all but that one box correct.

The time had come to divulge the results. Just as last time, Moore was asked to "fish out" the object buried in each box. And just as in September, the first box, in which Moore's "Y" rod had detected the presence of gold, turned out to contain an aluminum wafer -- Moore had, once again, "lost" the "Challenge." Of the 11 boxes that Moore thought contained gold, only five did; the other six contained aluminum. In all, just as in September, Moore turned out to have been correct with 12 of the 23 boxes, and wrong with 11, once again strongly suggesting chance guesswork rather than any genuine ability to divine for gold.

Disappointingly, though not surprisingly, even though his protocol demands were followed to the letter, Moore once again attemped to rationalize his failure, refusing to consider the possibility that he has no genuine divining ability. His excuses from last time could not be resurrected, since the new protocol eliminated those "problems." This time, his excuse was that the objects had not been sitting in the boxes long enough to generate the required "magnetic fields" -- several days are required. But it was Moore's  desire this time, unlike in September, to have the objects buried on the day of the test. And his rod did  detect the "magnetic fields" -- he swore that he was not merely "guessing" -- and responded differently to gold than it did to aluminum.

Despite his protestations, and his continued desire to prove his abilities to TBS, we see no reason to consider a third test of James D. Moore, Jr., and his "Crazy Rod."

Return to the Moore Challenge Protocol page